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Historical QB Rankings: Visualizing the Elite 9


This is a series on Historical PPR Positional Rankings. You can find Historical WR Rankings and Historical RB Rankings as well. The rankings give a quick snap shot of a player by year in relation to the rest of the league. Looking at just stats does not give the same perspective. For example, Peyton Manning’s 49 TD season in 04’ was followed by a 28 TD season. He was still a top 3 QB in his regression year.

Here are some of my observations along with a look at some QB drafting strategies.

 The Quick stats

From 2000-2013, 14 NFL seasons: all stats taken from FFToday PPR scoring (Passing TD 4 pts, .05 pts per 20 yds passing, -1 pt per interception)

  • 168 = total # of possible top 12 spots
  • 73 = average # of QBs to register a pass per year
  • 52 = QBs finished with at least one top 24 ranked season
  • 17 = QBs had only one top 12 ranked season
  • 6 = QBs had only two
  • 11 = QBs had three
  • 9 = QBs had four
  • 9 = QBs with five or more top 24 ranked seasons
  •  5 = QBs placed in their Rookie years

The Elite 9

There were nine quarterbacks that fit the Elite Criteria I set for historical RB and WR ranking. The following quarterbacks finished with at least five top 12 seasons.


Most of these are no surprise. Several potential Hall of Famers make up the Elite 9. Peyton Manning is the picture of Elite consistency. He’s never been worse than #6 QB. There’s an expectation of regression from Peyton’s record breaking season but he’s safe to say the least. Add Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers to the “Can’t get any safer” list also.

Tony Romo is almost always a QB1. Rivers is more often good than bad too. Tom Brady had an off year and looks to be a good value in ’14. All three are currently being drafted as the 10th QB or later. Brady is my favorite to surpass his current ADP. Take advantage of any of the Elite falling too far in drafts.

Funny to see Eli Manning labeled Elite. He’s never been top 3 like his brother, but there’s no denying decent QB1 production for several years. Vick is a surprising addition to the list also. It is interesting to note that only Rodgers and Vick on this list contributed with significant rushing statistics.

“Wait on QB” or “Late Round QB” is a strategy that has been very popular in recent years. I struggle with waiting on fantasy’s highest scoring position. I rarely pass up Manning, Brees and Rodgers after round 2. Jonathan Bales may agree with me. The consistency these three offer is hard to match. In head to head leagues, they won’t lose you very many weeks and will win you more than the average QB.

If you wanted to see an excellent example of “Wait on QB” in practice, here is it. The Zero RB champion, Shawn Siegele won $250k and didn’t draft a qb until round 10 or later. He placed first and second in the NFFC. This is one of the most underrated achievements in high stakes fantasy sports in my opinion.

Just missed the Elite 9


There are a couple of big names in this group. Daunte Culpepper was amazing in the early part of the decade. Kurt Warner and Donovan McNabb had the biggest gap between QB 1 seasons.

Who’s next to join the Elite?


These three are well on their way. Don’t expect a huge discount when drafting them though.

The Rookies


Cam is the other QB to place his rookie year. Andrew Luck is being drafted just after Manning, Rodgers and Brees. RG3 is going in the first 7 rounds. Russell Wilson you could probably wait on til most other QBs are drafted.

The Best of the Rest


These are the late(er) round QBs except for Kaepernick who’s still being drafted as a QB1. McNabb and Warner were a few that finished top 12 after taking several seasons off. Will any of these do it too?  Scott Smith’s must read piece on Late Round QB combinations has several of the above included. Eli Manning and Rivers can be drafted late in combination with this group. Carson Palmer has my vote to make a Kurt Warner impression in 2014. Palmer and Roethlisberger will join the Elite with just one more top 12 season.

Nick Foles is the only other notable QB missing from this. He has yet to post a QB 1 season but Jon Moore postulates Foles could throw 45 TDs this year.

Use these grids and the other Historical Ranking articles to find trends in positional rankings.

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